Jamaica and Eleuthera, Bahamas Take Home Destination Resilience Awards – Magnetic Media

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May 19, 2023 –     Affirming its commitment to the sustainability of the Caribbean tourism industry, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) announced the winners of its 2023 Destination Resilience Awards in Barbados last week.
Jamaica and Eleuthera in the Bahamas took home the top awards, while Bonaire, St. Maarten and St. Lucia were recognized with honorable mentions.
The second annual awards recognize the extent to which public-private sector partnerships drove the successful tourism recovery of the region.
Announcing the winners during the second annual Caribbean Travel Forum, held at Sandals Royal Barbados, Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of CHTA, said that this year’s submissions “all exemplified a high level of stakeholder collaboration, something which we wanted to advance.”
The awards, presented by CHTA in collaboration with the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), were conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic and are aimed at recognizing destinations with a deliberate focus on resilience and sustainability.
Judges assessed destinations’ commitment to addressing some or all of the World Tourism Organization’s sustainable development goals, recognizing destinations that subscribe to a collaborative approach and engage public and private sector stakeholders in innovative, needs-driven strategies. The awards recognize efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and the broader challenges impacting sustainable development.
A panel of tourism experts chose the winners based on the following criteria:
·         Commitments to partnership and collaboration
·         Sustainable/resiliency-related activities undertaken
·         Innovation and technology
·         Linkages and external engagement (i.e., other sectors, community)
·         Contribution of initiative(s) to tourism
Jamaica emerged the winner in Category A, reserved for destinations with total 2019 stopover visitor arrivals greater than 500,000. Initiatives such as the JAMAICA CARES program, a public-private partnership, took a holistic approach to resume post-pandemic travel and successfully positioned Jamaica at the forefront of international tourism recovery.
“It was no easy feat to reopen our borders in such a short time, and this award highlights the importance of partnerships in a crisis,” said Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, Donovan White. “We’re truly grateful and deeply honored to receive this distinction,” he added.
Robin Russell, President of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, said, “Our partnership with the public sector was truly momentous and allowed us to forge a strategy that led to an unprecedented recovery.”
In Category B, Eleuthera in the Bahamas was victorious for destinations with total stopover arrivals under 500,000. Eleuthera has demonstrated a commitment to a more sustainable future with efforts such as the Island School, Cape Eleuthera Institute, the Eleuthera Sustainability Council Cooperative Society and the Center for Training Institute.
“I am pleased to see the efforts to promote sustainability in the Bahamas and notably Eleuthera, recognized by the Caribbean community and rewarded with the Destination Resilience Award,” said Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism in the Bahamas.
 
 
Photo Captions
Header: L-R: Nicola Madden-Greig, President, CHTA; Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica; Ewald Biemans, Owner, Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort; Donovan White, Director, Jamaica Tourist Board; Kyle Mais, Chairman, CAST; Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General, CHTA; Josef Forstmayr, Managing Director, Round Hill Hotel and Villas; Marc Melville, Owner, Chukka Caribbean Adventures; Fiona Fennell, Public Relations and Communications Manager, Jamaica Tourist Board.
Insert: L-R: Nicola Madden-Greig, President, CHTA; Anthony A. Stuart, Senior Director, Emerging Markets, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; Marc Melville, Owner, Chukka Caribbean; Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General, CHTA.

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#TheBahamas, May 23, 2023 – Health & Wellness Minister the Honourable Dr. Michael R. Darville, in a pre-assembly interview, has forecast that Non-Communicable Diseases, Universal Healthcare Coverage, areas associated with the pandemic and Anti-microbial Resistance are some of the hot-ticket items on this year’s agenda at the 76th World Health Assembly. Minister Darville who is heading a delegation from The Bahamas comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Health & Wellness, the Public Hospitals Authority and the National Health Insurance Authority cited universal healthcare coverage as a major pillar of the Geneva discussions as the intention is to put it in place globally by the year 2030. He said the government equates the provision of healthcare services with equity across the Bahamas as a priority. This he said will become even more evident when the Parliament moves on new legislation to repeal the old National Health Insurance Act.
The Opening session of the 76th World Health Assembly takes place on Sunday May 21st in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s Assembly is being held under the theme Saving lives, driving health for all, and it comes as the WHO celebrates its 75th anniversary.
The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.
 
Press Release: Ministry of Health & Wellness

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By ROBYN ADDERLEY, BIS
 
 
#TheBahamas, May 23, 2023 – Grand Bahama “is on the move” said Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Chester Cooper when asked about the Grand Lucayan prior to the Cabinet Meeting held in Freeport on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
The Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation said, “We have taken the position that we want to validate proof of funding and we are in the process of going through that at the moment. The government knows how important the property is to Grand Bahama and its economy, as well as to the nation, and they are working diligently and when they get to a point, an announcement will be made.”
Questioned on the status of the Grand Bahama International Airport, the Deputy Prime Minister said they are about to begin demolition. “There are very complex agreements that are currently being prepared. The lawyers are working diligently.”
With a foreign lender, a foreign airport manager and a consortium of five entities that make up the local partners, there are a number of agreements being made. Consultants are currently working on the ground, and the Deputy Prime Minister said he will meet with them next Tuesday to view the designs.
“The reality is that the work has continued since we entered the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) in March. The process is we entered the MOU, we are now completing the full set of legal agreements and designs. We’re going to begin the demolition work shortly. Renovation of the Air Traffic Control Tower is going to begin first and then we’ll go into full scale construction.”
The 2025 deadline for the completion of the airport, is still in place with all parties committed.
Deputy Prime Minister Cooper then turned his attention to airlift to the island stating that they have been “very deliberate and very focused” having engaged Bahamasair for flights from Raleigh, North Carolina; and Sunwing. It is hoped that these flights can become year-round.
With Sunwing recently acquired by WestJet, he said, “this is going to be an overall positive for The Bahamas and Grand Bahama. WestJet has always been a good partner with direct services from Toronto and Montreal, as well as Calgary.” They are currently working to get more airlift to Grand Bahama.
Other airlines include Frontier, Silver and Bahamasair for the possibility of additional routes. For more airlift, he said, they are also speaking with Air Canada which flies from Charlotte and Miami.
“The challenge on the island at the moment is the number of hotel rooms and we’re hoping we can get Breakers Cay open in a short period of time to support the airlift.
“Suffice to say, all of our airline partners are standing by and they are ready to support the island of Grand Bahama. The product is strong, our overall numbers is just 96 percent of 2019, only four percent behind 2019 let’s put it that way; our cruise numbers are up 188 percent compared to 2019.
“So, Grand Bahama is on the move. There’s excitement about the product. People now realize there is a significant level of things to do in East End and West End, and of course in Freeport, and this is attracting a significant level of interest from stakeholders and, potentially, new partners,” he said.
Additionally, the government will make a statement on the $300 million development in West Grand Bahama and it is expected that more information will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.
When asked about commercial banks going into the Family Islands that currently have no banks, the Deputy Prime Minister said the issue has been a concern of the government for some time. As the large Canadian banks have been withdrawing from the islands, the money transfer agencies have been engaged to work with existing banks to provide the service.
“I anticipate the bank involved is going to make an announcement soon in relation to Exuma and Long Island mission; and we hope that as a result of the successful implementation of these plans in Exuma and Long Island, that other islands will benefit in due course,” he said.
 
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By BETTY VEDRINE, BIS
 
 
#NASSAU, The Bahamas, May 23, 2023 –  The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), has made a significant step in its quest to expand and innovate the industrial sector and offer Bahamians another avenue for entrepreneurship.
On Wednesday, 18th May, the corporation took a leap into the unknown but exciting world of perfume-making when a workshop was facilitated at their headquarters on Old Trail Road.
The one-day workshop brought together artisans and craftspersons from the world of essential oil production, candle-making, aromatherapy and other crafts. Bringing his expertise to The Bahamas, world-renowned perfume maker and skincare specialist, Edwin Bruce, facilitated the event.  Executive Chairman of BAIC, Leroy Major, called the workshop a ‘groundbreaking’ event for the country.
“The perfume industry is a $38.2 billion one that The Bahamas has not tapped into and so after doing some research and finding out that castor oil, which is produced locally, is a component of perfume, we decided to try our hand at perfume making,” he said.
“We invited Mr. Bruce, out of Jamaica, to assist us as he is well-versed in this area. We plan to also facilitate workshops in some of the other islands shortly.”
Mr. Bruce said he was elated to share his knowledge with the Bahamian people given his affection for the country.
During the three-hour event, participants learned about the various layers of scent, the use of raw materials for scents, how to blend scents, the philosophy and olfactory psychology and also the language behind scents.  At the end of the workshop, participants were able to compose and bottle their own personalized fragrances.
 

 
(BIS Photos/Betty Vedrine)

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